Wine Pairings for the Holidays

Choosing an appropriate wine to serve alongside Thanksgiving dinner is always a difficult choice. Provided is a short guideline to make life a little easier.

Tipsy Turkey

Hors D’oeuvres

Offering your guests a small snack and refreshing beverage as they arrive not only makes them feel welcome, it also buys you time to put the finishing touches on your holiday meal. I suggest pairing a simple cheese plate with crackers and seasonal fruit with something light and white, like a sparkling wine. While many people serve sparkling wines with dessert courses, the tiny bubbles awaken the palate and give the entire affair a festive atmosphere.

The Main Event

There are many theories behind which wine best pairs with a great Thanksgiving meal. Going into them would take too long, so I’ll break it down between red wines and white wines. I suggest having one of each kind handy, as everyone has different preferences.

Firstly, whites: a dry Riesling is wonderful for Thanksgiving, as its crisp acidity cuts through the heaviness of the meal while its fruit-forward tones are a crowd-pleaser. A Chardonnay will also fit the bill, whether it’s oaked or un-oaked. Oaked Chardonnays will compliment all the creamy flavors on the table, while un-oaked Chardonnays will act similarly to a Riesling, but without the inherent sweetness.

For red wines, a Pinot Noir with its light-bodied approachability pairs wonderfully with turkey, without the heavy-handed flavors of a Cabernet or Merlot to mask the poultry you’ve worked all day to perfect. Another great option is a Zinfandel, as its lower tannin levels help moisten even the driest turkey, while its spicy flavors compliment all the bold side dishes.

Dessert: Pumpkin & Pecan Pies

Here’s the most surprising part of the meal: the best wine to pair with pumpkin and pecan pies is actually a beer! A Belgian style beer such as a saison or a tripel ale has enough bubbles to lighten the heavy pie and interesting spice notes to complement your baking. The juxtaposition of sweet and bitter flavors is also an interesting experience for your guests’ palates. For those averse to beers, a hard apple cider is a great choice, as long as its served ice cold.

Thanksgiving Beer

Remember: Your guests are one of the things to be most thankful for, so be sure to offer nonalcoholic options, such as tea and coffee, to ensure they get home safely!


Always Thankful for Our Customers,

The Bar at Grand Stafford Theater